Missouri State Penitentiary opened in 1836, the same year as the Battle of the Alamo. It celebrated its 98th birthday the year Alcatraz opened. The prison was named “bloodiest 47 acres in America” in 1967 by Time magazine. Before closing it doors for good in 2004, the Missouri State Prison was the oldest penal facility operating west of the Mississippi River.
Now you can tour the infamous prison and get a feel for what it must have been like for the both the inmates and their guards! Tours visit the prison’s oldest remaining cellblock (Unit 4), control center, work area, exercise yard, dungeon cells, and – ulk – even the gas chamber.
Missouri State Prison Tours
Missouri State Penitentiary offers a wide variety of ways to explore the historic facility. There are History Tours, Photography Tours, and spooky Ghost and Paranormal Tours. In fact, there are currently 18 different kinds of tours available.
Tour guides at the prison are former corrections officers, guards, and wardens who worked here. You’ll know the stories they tell are on the level. Some of the more popular tours include:
The 2-Hour History Tour – This tour digs into the prison’s intriguing history. You’ll learn about escape attempts, riots, famous inmates, and much more.
2-Hour Ghost Tour – Hear the strange, unusual, and unexplained things that have occurred behind the Missouri State Pen’s walls. This tour visits Housing Units 1, 3, and 4, the dungeon cells, and the gas chamber. Brrrrr!
3-Hour Photography Tour – Shutterbugs will love this 2-hour exploration of some of the most photographed parts of the prison.
Other tours offered include the 3-Hour Mystery Tour, 8-Hour Overnight Paranormal Investigation, and the 3-Hour In-Depth History Tour.
Missouri State Penitentiary Museum
Hungry for more Missouri State Pen history?
The Missouri State Penitentiary Museum in Jefferson City continues the story of the prison with a wealth of penitentiary memorabilia. Exhibits highlight prison industries, contract labor, life inside the walls, and more. There’s even a replica jail cell.
The museum is located in the lower-level of the Col. Darwin W. Marmaduke House at 700 E Capitol Ave, in Jefferson City. Admission is $2 or free with purchase of a prison tour. Open Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm, and Saturdays, 10am to 3pm.
Jefferson City Prison Tours
115 Lafayette Street, Jefferson City, MO 65101
Tour season runs from March to November. No children under 10 permitted. Tours are not wheelchair accessible. Still photography is allowed but no video. No smoking. Reservations are required for all tours. Special and group tours may be arranged. Visit www.missouripentours.com to learn more. You can also follow the Missouri State Penitentiary on Facebook.
Touring the State Pen sounds like a great time – but you don’t want a room there! For your best answer to a good night’s sleep, try a Missouri bed and breakfast! You’ll net unbelievably comfie accommodations, nutritious breakfasts, an insider’s info on the area, and a host of luxurious amenities on top. Why wait? Find your perfect Missouri inn today!